National Competition Will Decide America’s Two Best Transportation Projects

Online Voters and Expert Judges to Choose Winners from Twelve Finalists

WASHINGTON—After 79 project nominees from 36 State Departments of Transportation, competed in four hard-fought U.S. regional contests, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is today announcing the Top 12 finalists in the 2020 America’s Transportation Awards Competition. State DOT projects in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington State, and Wisconsin have earned the highest number of points in the regionals, earning those projects a place in this year’s Top 12. These finalists are credited with making travel across America safer, better, and more accessible to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike.

“All 79 project nominees are considered winners to the communities they serve,” said Patrick McKenna AASHTO’s 2019-2020 President and director of the Missouri DOT. “I’m privileged to be in a position where I can see how these transportation improvements benefit communities. The Top 12 projects are the best of the best.  They’re helping to reduce traffic crashes and congestion—and they’re connecting people to jobs, recreation, and tourism.”

The Top 12 Finalists are competing for the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award. Both prizes come with a $10,000 cash award, for a charity or transportation-related scholarship of the winners’ choosing.

Sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the competition evaluates projects in three categories: Quality of Life/Community Development; Best Use of Technology & Innovation; and Operations Excellence. The projects are also divided into three sizes: small (less than $25 million); medium ($25 million to $200 million); and large (more than $200 million).

“During these extraordinary times—we’re seeing construction workers out there on the front lines continuing to build and repair the transportation infrastructure America depends on,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director. “While many of these projects were completed before the COVID-19 Pandemic hit—they are today–helping to get medical supplies to hospitals and food to grocery stores. Transportation is essential and this contest celebrates the people and the projects that are keeping America moving.” 

An independent panel of transportation industry experts will select the Grand Prize winner, while the general public will decide the People’s Choice Award winner through online voting. Online votes will be weighted to each state’s population, allowing for greater competition between states with larger and smaller populations. The winners will be announced at the virtual AASHTO Annual Meeting the week of November 9-13, 2020. Online voting begins today and ends at 11:59 p.m. on October 25, 2020. Cast your vote today. Individuals can cast no more than one vote per day.

The Top 12 projects in alphabetical order are:

Arizona DOTLoop 202 South Mountain Freeway (Best Use of Technology & Innovation Category, Large Project Group)

Connecticut DOTCommunity Connectivity Grant Program – Boxer Square Revitalization (Quality of Life/Community Development Category, Small Project Group)

Georgia DOTColumbus Riverwalk Project (Quality of Life/Community Development Category, Small Project Group)

Hawaii DOTKauai Emergency Repairs (Operations Excellence Category, Medium Project Group)

Minnesota DOTMinnesota Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Challenge (Best Use of Technology & Innovation Category, Small Project Group)

New Jersey DOTRoute 72, Manahawkin Bay Bridges – Contract 4 (Quality of Life/Community Development Category, Medium Project Group)

North Carolina DOTDrones: North Carolina’s Future of Healthcare Logistics (Best Use of Technology & Innovation Category, Small Project Group)

Ohio DOTI-670 SmartLane Project (Best Use of Technology & Innovation Category, Medium Project Group)

Pennsylvania DOTAutomated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Program (Operations Excellence Category, Small Project Group)

Virginia DOTI-81 Corridor Operations Expansion Program – 2019 Activities (Operations Excellence Category, Small Project Group)

Washington State DOTState Route 99 Tunnel Project (Operations Excellence Category, Large Project Group)

Wisconsin DOTWIS 116 Bridge (Quality of Life/Community Development Category, Small Project Group)

Vote for your favorite Top 12 projects today.


Should you have any questions about the competition, please reach out to Kaitlyn Meuser, AASHTO marketing specialist, at 202-624-5470 or by email at kmeuser AT aashto.org or Maggie Kasperski, AASHTO communications and marketing manager, at 202-624-3659 or by email at mkasperski AT aashto.org.